Union warns bus, rail passengers face potential disruption in coming weeks

NBRU to warn of industrial action over route outsourcing and anti-social behaviour

The NBRU is  expected to indicate it will seek to increase pressure on the Government to back its campaign for the introduction of a dedicated Garda public transport division. Photograph: Getty Images

The NBRU is expected to indicate it will seek to increase pressure on the Government to back its campaign for the introduction of a dedicated Garda public transport division. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Bus and rail passengers face potential disruption after staff in the State transport sector warned of possible industrial action over safety issues and the outsourcing of routes.

At their biennial conference in Cork on Friday, members of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) will consider plans to withdraw or curtail services in some parts of the country before Halloween in protest at anti-social behaviour.

The union is also expected to announce plans to ballot members in Bus Éireann for industrial action over plans by the National Transport Authority (NTA) to put out to tender a further 5 per cent of routes currently operated by the State-owned company.

Informed sources said the union would say at the conference that industrial action and the withdrawal of train and bus services were “distinct possibilities” in the coming weeks and months.

It is understood NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary will say that the union will warn the Government and the State transport companies that timetabled services “can no longer be guaranteed as a result of the safety concerns associated with the level of anti-social behaviour and thuggery being witnessed on an almost daily basis across all transport services”.

The conference will also consider a motion looking at withdrawing and curtailing transport services from what is described as “number of notorious blackspots” for anti-social behaviour in the period leading up to Halloween.

The union is also expected to indicate it will seek to increase pressure on the Government to back its campaign for the introduction of a dedicated Garda public transport division.

Out to tender

Delegates at the conference are also expected to reiterate their opposition to plans by the NTA to put out to tender a further 5 per cent of routes operated by Bus Éireann. Last year the authority announced proposals to put a number of commuter routes in the eastern region out to tender.

The NBRU is expected to argue that under an agreement put in place following a dispute a number of years ago over a decision to put a previous tranche of routes out to tender, Bus Éireann is obliged to ensure the future employment of its drivers was guaranteed.

After the previous move to put routes out to tender, Bus Éireann lost the rights to operate Kildare commuter services, but won the contract to continue to provide services in Waterford.

More than 20 routes previously operated by Dublin Bus transferred to independent company Go-Ahead.